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Disability and Caregiver Counseling 

Disability can turn your world upside-down.

Whether it happened slowly over time or suddenly, the presence of a disability in your life or the life of someone important to you can bring on so many changes and struggles.  Have you experienced any of the following?
  • Daily tasks that used to be easy now seem so much more challenging and frustrating.
  • You get angry at yourself for struggling with things that used to be simple.
  • You're struggling to accept that your life has been changed.
  • You feel stuck, hoping for a miracle or wishing you could "turn back time" and avoid what happened.
  • You feel grief over the loss of your life as it was before.
  • Or you've given up on hope and feel like learning to adapt is pointless.
  • You're overwhelmed and lost, not knowing where to even begin to accept and adapt to the changes.

You might be experiencing many of the effects of change such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD due to the events that led to the disability.  Your thoughts about the changes come at you at all times and feel out of control.  Your heart races at the thought of trying to do something or how people will perceive you.  At the end of the day, you feel tired and can't concentrate because just getting through the day took so much focus and effort.
Person approaching stairs tapping in front of them with a white cane with a red tip.
​As you move through the world with a disability, it can also can bring unexpected things as well, such as:
  • Fears or experiences of discrimination
  • Minority stress
  • Loss of your independence and ability to do things spontaneously
  • Setting boundaries with others to be seen and respected as a capable adult
  • Not being believed because, "you don't look like you have a disability."

Are you struggling with being a caregiver for someone with a disability?  You have your own challenges, too.

Supporting someone who has acquired or is adapting to a disability has its own unique challenges.  You might be the partner, child, parent, coworker, or friend of the person and are trying your best to be supportive and helpful.  But you're struggling as well.  Does any of this sound familiar?
  • You feel frustrated by the situation, which turns into negative feelings about the person.
  • You feel guilty for getting frustrated and angry at the person.
  • You tell yourself you have to do everything for them.
  • You become overprotective because you worry about their health and safety when they act independently.
  • You worry that the struggles you're experiencing right now are what your life will be like from now on.
  • You have no idea where to begin in supporting them.
  • You don't make time to take care of yourself, thinking you have too much to do.  Self-care feels like a luxury you don't have.
You might be telling yourself that you don't need counseling support for your own challenges.  You might tell yourself, "They have it so much worse than me.  What right do I have to feel bad?"
"There is no 'harder than.'  There is only hard." - Jeffery Marsh
You might feel selfish for having your own struggles.  But this is a change for you as well.  Your life has been affected just like theirs has.  You might have to learn when to step in to help and when to step back and let someone do things on their own, even when they are struggling.  You might also struggle to take time for self-care so that you can be there for that person.

But there is hope.  Life can change for the better. 
You can do this!

Right now you feel overwhelmed and lost.  There's no manual for how to adapt to your situation.  But the good new is you can adapt and move toward a life of purpose and pleasure that is modified to accommodate you.

Yes, it is true that life has changed.  But there are still possibilities.  There's a life ahead in which you adapt to the changes and learn to navigate life in new ways.

A person with a cane and a person in a wheelchair on a paved path through a wooded area.
It will take time.  It will be challenging and you'll get frustrated.  That is natural and completely understandable.  But you can do it and counseling can help.  As a person adapting to a disability, some of the outcomes you might pursue with a therapist include:
  • Working through anger and grief to accept the change that has happened.
  • Managing fear and anxiety about the future.
  • Identifying the core values that make something important to you and learning to connect with them in ways that accommodate your disability.
  • Taking overwhelming challenges and breaking them down into small steps that feel manageable.
  • Recovering a sense of hope to engage in things that are meaningful to you.

For those of you who are supporting a person adapting to a disability, your goals might include:
  • Acknowledging and validating your thoughts and feelings as natural.
  • Letting go of guilt about how you feel about the situation.
  • Recognizing when you might be doing so much that you're actually stifling the person's growth toward independent living.
  • Managing the anxious thoughts and fearful feelings you have about not being around the person all the time and doing everything.
  • Reclaiming yourself as an individual to do the things you enjoy that make you better as a supportive person.

Why do I believe this is possible?  Because I've been there.

I know what it feels like to be lost and overwhelmed.  In 2007, my wife experienced a medical emergency that caused her to lose her eyesight over a matter of weeks.  We felt lost and alone, even though we had each other.  She didn't know what to do in her situation.  I didn't know what to do for her.

But over time, we figured it out - and therapy helped.  As I learned to be a therapist, I discovered for myself how to unhook from anxious thoughts, decrease rumination, and do something that mattered.

Today, life is better than it ever had been.  Is it still frustrating at times?  Are there still challenges? 

Yes.  There will always be challenges.  But we now trust that we can handle them.

I want you to have that confidence in yourself as well.  I want you to reclaim a life of connection, possibility, and joy.

You may not be able to go back to the way things were.

But you can go forward to something new.

It's not a question of if it can be done, but how can it be done differently?

Ready to do something different?

Click the link below to contact me with questions, for a free, no-strings-attached 20-minute conversation to see if we'd be a good fit, or to set up an appointment.

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